Dončić scores 32 points in Dallas’ win
Luka Dončić led the Dallas Mavericks to their second straight victory. The Mavs beat the Detroit Pistons 106-101 at American Airlines Center. It was Dončić and Dennis Smith Jr. who brought Dallas an important win.
The Pistons had trouble containing the likely rookie of the year. Dončić scored team high 32 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, including a clutch steal, assist and jumper in the final minutes of the game, while Smith had 19 points and five assists. “Look, those guys can play together,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Dončić and Smith. “And, I like staggering them because it creates a different look. The important thing is to do whatever it best to win games.” Maxi Kleber came off the bench and scored 12 points and four blocked shots, two of them in the final minutes. Blake Griffin scored team-high 35 points for the Pistons.
Slovenian rookie sensation matched his second highest output of the season and became only the third teen in NBA history with 32-point, eight-assist and eight-rebound game. The only two other players are LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Dallas is now 18-6 at home, which is the same home record as the Golden State Warriors, but their 4-20 road records is tied with the Phoenix Suns for the second worst in the NBA (only the Cleveland Cavaliers are worst with 4-22). The Mavs will host the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
The Mavs were disappointed when Dončić wasn’t chosen on Thursday as one of the starters in the NBA All-Star game. NBA players left him of the Western Conference starting lineup. The Mavericks rookie trailed only James in total fan votes in the West and could still be named a reserve selected by the coaches. “I don’t think it’s ever been tougher in the West,” Carlisle said. “There is going to be guys who probably don’t make the All-Star team that are perennial all-star type guys. Luka has done great things. There’s no question about it and he does have a legitimate chance. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.” Dončić confirmed he will be participating in the Skills Challenge. “Coaches have all that information at their disposal, and I do know that coaches are very steadfast about voting for guys who deserve to be in there, so we’ll see,” said Carlisle who isn’t in a rush to vote, since he can’t vote for his players.